It’s up to you, the dedicated math geek, to help Microsoft to discover the “lost primes!” While people have searched tirelessly to discover the largest prime numbers possible, untold amounts of perfectly prime numbers are waiting to be found with the aid of cloud computing!
A prime number is any number that only divide by themselves and 1. Some commonly known prime numbers include 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, and 17. One popular method to identify primes is to using the algorithm 2p-1 (where p is a known prime), but while it was used to label 2, 3, 127 and 8,191 as primes, this technique left out tons of prime primes such as 5, 7, 29, 31, 97, etc.
The biggest prime number that we know of was discovered with the help an incredibly large amount of computer processing power, and that individual number is 17 million digits long. Microsoft is willing to give individuals and teams a free month of Windows Azure’s server-based cloud computing to devote their processing efforts to probing the five unexplored regions between “2” and that 17 million digit behemoth to discover new prime numbers.
What’s in it for you? Any prime numbers that you reveal with assist the mathematics community, you’ll get a month to play with Windows Azure for free and the top 20 prime-number hunters are proudly displayed on The Prime Challenge’s Leaderboard. How many of these elusive primes will you and your team of number hunters unearth? I don’t know how long Microsoft’s “The Prime Challenge” will last, but here’s hoping that a few of your will dedicate your extra servers to the prime number hunting cause! Click here to sign up for yourself!
Sources: The Prime Challenge, ComputerworldUK